Our Family

Our Family

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Curriculum Choices for the 2016/2017 School Year: 4th and 5th Grade

Over the last several days I have shared my curriculum choices for Kindergarten and 2nd grade.  In this post I am talking about my curriculum choices for 4th and 5th grade.  I am combining these because the boys are only 20 months different in age and are very close in ability and the only thing they will be doing differently is math levels.

My biggest goal for Anthony and Christian last year was to get them reading independently.  I am so happy that we met that goal!  Both boys are reading chapter books independently.  My biggest education goal for them this year is to get them writing more.  We will be working on writing more often and using proper punctuation and capitalization.  We will also be working on neatness :)

4th and 5th Grade Curriculum Choices

Math- Christian will be using Math Lessons for a Living Education Level 4 and Anthony will be using Math Lessons for a Living Education Level 5.

Reading/Spelling- All About Reading Level 4 and All About Spelling Level 3.

Language Arts- The boys loved Fix It! Grammar last year so we will be using Fix It! Grammar Book 2 Robin Hood and Language Lessons for Today Book 3.

Bible/Geography/Science/Art-My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures.  As I mentioned in my 2nd grade post, I am not the type of person that needs to check all the boxes in a lesson planner.  I will be modifying this and changing it as needed to meet our needs.  I chose MFW because of the ability to use it with a wide range of ages and I like the convenience of being able to buy everything together.

Science-When we used MFW Adventures last year I felt it was light on science and my children love science so we will also be using Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy.

Music-I'd like to complete 2-3 composers from Music for the Elementary Ages Book One by Zeezok.

Bible-We have been using VeritasBible.com and the boys LOVE this.  I am going to try to squeeze in a lesson a couple of days a week.

We also will be doing:


IEW Poetry

Family Read Aloud 

I am looking forward to the new school year!

Happy Homeschooling!

*links to AAR and AAS are my affiliate links.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review
Anthony has been having some summer reading fun with the new app Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree from Star Toaster.
Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review
Last year, Alex had an opportunity to review Orphs of the Woodlands The Treasure of HighTower from Star Toaster.  We loved the interactive features of this online book along with all of the educational jobs and the fun of caring for the orphs.  This story was suggested for grades 4-7.  One of the things that I commented on in my review was that I loved the concept and wanted to see something similar in a lower reading level.  I was so excited to see Star Toaster back on our vendor list this year with a new interactive book, a prequel to The Treasure of HighTower geared for children ages 9-11!

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree is an app designed for iPad or iPhone running iOS 8.0 or later. It is a book, but it is so much more.  There are 23 short chapters(122 pages) in this animated interactive reading adventure.  There are also 75 lessons in math, language arts, science, life skills, thinking skills, character, and the arts. To test their skills about each area they have learned something new in, children will perform a variety of jobs (over 130 of them) to earn stars to buy items to care for the baby orphs.  
Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review

What are baby orphs you might ask?  Well, there was a flood and Abba the flying squirrel and his friends rescued some orphaned animals which are called orphs.  To care for the orphs he has to be able to buy things they need (food, clothing, diapers, etc...)  To do that your child must earn stars by completing jobs as they read through the story.  

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review
Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review
Multiple children are able to use the app at one time.  The work is tracked on your device, so if you have more then one device you should make sure your child uses the same one every time.  Parents can easily see what their children have accomplished by choosing their child's work or progress in the menu.   
Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review

I have had Anthony (10) using this app once a day 3-4 days a week on my iPad. Since it is hard to be able to write a review on things you don't use yourself, I made a load for myself and have been using it on my iPhone.  I think I have enjoyed it as much as he has. 

The first time we used the app, it look awhile to load because I have super slow internet and there is a lot of artwork and some animations that took a little while to download.  After that first time we have had no issues.

This is such a cool little app!  The story is engaging and will keep your child reading.  The animations are adorable and we love the interactive features.  There is a wide variety of learning activities within each of the chapters.  We love the different jobs and that there is job training provided before the children have to answer the questions.  Earning stars to "buy" items for the orphs is great motivation for completing the jobs, but I also like that the children cannot just spend all of their time completing jobs.  They have to go back and read the book to have the opportunity to complete more jobs.  

Star Toaster did an excellent job with this app!  I can't wait to see the next book in the series.  I would love to see this app made available for Android platforms as well so the children could play it on their own devices. 

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

NotebookingPages.com 3 Day Back to School Sale (Save $25!)


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    *this post contains affiliate links.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend!

    Tuesday, July 26, 2016

    One Day Back to School Giveaway! (July 26th 9 am-9 pm Central)

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    * this post contains affiliate links.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend!

    Monday, July 25, 2016

    Curriculum Choices for the 2016/2017 School Year: 2nd Grade

    Curriculum decisions can be so difficult!  There is so much curriculum out there to choose from.  I know when I am spending my money I want it to be on something that works and that the children and I enjoy.  That doesn't always happen though and then you have to decide if you need to stick with what you have, or make some changes.

    Our biggest change this year is math.  That can be the hardest subject to make a change in because every math curriculum teaches differently and too many changes can end up causing more problems then when you started.  I say that if you find something that works well, you need to stick with it. But you also have to recognize when something does not work well and try and figure out what might work better.  Last year, math was a nightmare in this house.  Too many children with too much frustration all at the same time.  The math curriculum we had been using for years that worked so well for the first few children was not going well for the others so it was time for a change,

    2nd Grade Curriculum Choices

    Math: Lily will be using Math Lessons for a Living Education Level 2.  This a new curriculum from MasterBooks.com.  The curriculum has been around for a little while, but it has been updated and revised.  I reviewed Level One and I think this will be a good change for us.

    Reading: She will be continuing with All About Reading Level 2.  Last year she completed Level One and half of Level 2.  We will pick up where we left off.

    Bible/Art/Geography/Science: My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures.  After I purchased the MFW K two years ago and loved it so much, we did Adventures from MFW last year. We enjoyed that one too so I decided to try the Exploring Countries and Cultures this year.  Now I have to tell you that I am not a check every box kind of person.  I am fine with adapting the curriculum to meet our needs and leaving things off or adding things on as needed, but I kind of like having a tentative lesson plan written out for me,  Where we live our library is super small and hard to get books from inter-library loan so buying everything in one box is very convenient.  I have been planning and getting things ready and have already seen things that I will be changing as the year goes on, but I am hoping that we will enjoy this curriculum as much as we have the others we have used from MFW.

    Science: The one thing I decided after using MFW last year was that the science was too light (in Adventures.) If I had been teaching 1-3rd graders that had not every had a lot of science it probably would have been fine.  But my children love science and have done a lot already tagging on with older siblings so in addition to MFW Ecc science assignments we are going to be using Apologia Astronomy.

    Language Arts: We have just started a review of Jolly Grammar, and so far Lily likes it so we will continue on with that.

    Music: Now here is where I need to be realistic.  I would like us to continue in or composer study from  Zeezok Music Appreciation Book 1 for the Elementary Grades.  We finished two composers last year.  There is a lot to this curriculum.  I would like to get through 2-3 composers this year.

    I am looking forward to the start of our new year!

    *links to AAR are my affiliate links.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend!

    Sunday, July 24, 2016

    Our Week in Review (July 18th-24th)

    It has been hot here in SW Arkansas!!

    We took advantage of the Back to School sales and did some shopping for school supplies for the new year this week.  I loaded up on crayons, pens, glue, colored pencils, and paper and also grabbed some notebooks and other items we needed.  There still are a few more things I need that I could not find at Walmart.  I had been saving all of my Savings Catcher money for months and used that money to buy my supplies so they didn't cost me anything!

    After we were finished shopping and had lunch the children wanted to swim.  There were some gray clouds getting kind of close to our house and I was so hoping it would rain.  It did!  For only 15-20 minutes.  The children enjoyed swimming in the rain and it made it cooler for me to sit and watch them.  Of course after it ended it was even hotter outside then it was before!

    We also got to go to the movies this week.  We waited until Saturday so Art would be able to go with us and Chelsea was able to go as well.  We saw Finding Dory.  It was a very cute movie.

    The children gave my van a bath before we went.

    We had a sunflower grow that we did not plant. I love sunflowers and was very happy to see it!

    For school work this week we accomplished quite a bit!  I also have been busy cleaning out crates, clearing off shelves, and rearranging to get ready for the new school year.

    We completed 3 lessons in VeritasBible.com.  We did two days of Foreign Language for Kids by Kids.

    We started working on a review of a wellness curriculum called Way Comes Home.  We watched the introductory videos, decorated the journal covers, and completed the first module.

    The girls and I started working on a new review of a phonics and grammar curriculum called Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar.  I have Lily using the grammar workbook and Emmie using the phonics workbook.  Lily completed the first lesson and Emmie completed one letter in the phonics book.

    Emmie also started working on the first unit in My Father's World Creation from A to Z on the sun.  She finished the first two days of the unit and has completed the picture card page and handwriting page.  Sh is doing a science experiment on the sun by turning grapes into raisins.

    She was so sweet reading her Creation book to Nick one day.

    We also extracted DNA from a strawberry this week.  That was a fun experiment!

    Christian has been working on a series of Stop Motion movies.  I love his creativity!

    Here is one of his movies.

    And part 2.

    I hope you had a great week!

    Happy Homeschooling!

    Saturday, July 23, 2016

    Homechool Science Camp: Strawberry DNA

    *I was provided with the items for Homeschool Science Camp free of charge. Please see my disclaimer at the bottom of this post for more information.

    Over the last several months, we have had the opportunity to participate in Homeschool Science Camp.  We have done a lot of great projects such as Ecosystem in a Bottle, Garden in a Glove, Toothbrush Robots, and more!  Our last project for Homeschool Science Camp was to extract DNA from a strawberry.

    You can find step by step directions here.

    And see a video demonstration of the experiment here.

    Supplies Needed:

    Deionized Water
    Iodized Salt
    Dish Soap
    Plastic Baggie
    Paper Towel or Coffee Filter
    Test Tube Rack
    Conical Tube
    Craft Stick
    Cold 91% Rubbing Alcohol

    And if you want to make it into a necklace
    Micro tube

    We received the supplies for this experiment several weeks ago.  But, the liquids were not included. On the supply list it said that Deionized water could be found easily at grocery stores.  But I was not able to find it at either of the grocery stores in this town.  I spoke to a science teacher who told me I could substitute destilled water so we used that instead.

    The first thing we had to do was make the lysis buffer using the water, dish soap, and salt.

    Next we put the strawberry into the baggie and squished it.

    We measured 35 ml of lysis buffer and added it to our squished strawberry.

    We put the conical tube in the tube rack, placed the funnel over it and put the coffee filter inside.

    We poured the strawberry mixture into the funnel to filter out the chunks of strawberry and only keep the liquid.

    Next we poured in the rubbing alcohol, and watched the DNA rise to the top!

    To complete the activity we drew out the DNA with a craft stick, put it in the Micro tube and placed the yarn around it.  This makes a little necklace that you can carry the DNA inside.

    We have never done anything like this before.  The children enjoyed this activity. It is a great way for them to actually see the building blocks of life.  This would make a great hands on science project for those studying biology or botany, or for kids like mine who love science!

    Disclaimer: I received the products in this kit complimentary from Monsanto as part of their #CampSci Homeschool Science Program.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to the FTC regulations.